In 2007, farmers in Kirehe district in Eastern Rwanda started organising themselves in a cooperative to gain access to better markets. The name of the cooperative, Indakemwa, means „integrity‟ in Kinyarwanda.
But when P4P was initiated in Rwanda, Indakemwa did not qualify as a participant, as they lacked any storage facility to aggregate commodities and had only little quantities to sell. Not discouraged by the initial refusal from WFP, the cooperative’s leadership decided to take part in P4P nonetheless. Thanks to an agreement with Ibyiza Biri Mbere, a strong cooperative, Indakemwa was able to use their warehouse for the aggregation of beans. Ibyiza Biri Mbere charged them only the costs of a watchman for 3 months (60,000RwF, about 100 US$). With this detour, Indakemwa finally could sell 16 tons of beans to WFP.
In the spirit of finding a long-term solution and creating ownership, WFP challenged the cooperative’s leadership to find a way of building a storage facility accessible to WFP and other buyers. Indakemwa seized the opportunity and partnered with another P4P cooperative called Duhuzimbaraga. To build a simple storage facility, both contributed 500,000 RwF (about 830 US$) taken from its regular membership fees.
Indakemwa’s president Silas Niyitegeka donated his land to have the shed build right next to the road. For the construction, the cooperatives hired 20 labourers for 20 days, who were mostly members of the cooperative looking to earn some extra income (3,000 RwF or 5 US$/day). Two months later, a simple storage facility for 150 tons had been erected.
The cooperative’s example shows that P4P is not just about improving farmers’ lives, but about changing minds. Or in the words of Silas: “My goal is to wean my cooperative off dependency.” Silas himself is a good example for how much change has already happened over the past years: Silas recalls that in 2008, he only made 47,000 RwF (80 US$) and there were times when he could not provide food for his family. All crops were consumed within the household and there was only little interaction with the market.
With institutional buyers like WFP and the Rwanda Agriculture Development Authority (RADA), Silas decided to allocate all of his land to maize and produce for the market. Two years down the road, Silas earned a total of 402,500 RwF (670 US$) out of his farming activities in 2010.
Silas goal is „to champion my cooperative to a position where it owns its own truck to collect goods and build more stores to a point where the cooperative will be able export its commodities.‟ At the moment the newly built shed is stocked with 50mt of beans and 120 mt of maize. The maize is already contracted by RADA at the favourable price of 350 Rwf (0.58US$)/kg to be used as seeds. When discussing whether to sell the 50 tons of beans to WFP, Silas makes clear that if WFP delays he will sell the commodity to other buyers. This is farmer empowerment in the real sense of the word.
For more information, please visit: http://www.wfp.org/purchase-progress/blog/rwanda-cooperative-shows-initiative-join-wfp